Class Actions

Class Actions

In New Zealand, there is no direct equivalent to the US-style class action. However, there are a few procedures by which collective or representative actions can be brought before our courts. Parker & Associates is one of only a handful of law firms that specialise in bringing them to court.

In New Zealand, there is no direct equivalent to the US-style class action. However, there are a few procedures by which collective or representative actions can be brought before our courts. With the Court of Appeal’s recent approval of ‘opt-out’ procedures in New Zealand, class-type proceedings look to be taking root. Parker & Associates is one of only a handful of law firms that specialise in bringing them to court.

Some class actions are funded by the claimant group; others are funded by litigation funding, which involves a third-party agreeing to fund the claim in return for a fee if the claim is successful. We have dealt with both.

Are you considering a class action lawsuit?

A class action improves access to justice by allowing a group of people with sufficiently similar interests to make a claim against a powerful defendant/s, like a pharmaceutical company, product manufacturer or the government. If you’re wondering how to start a class action in New Zealand, the first step is to talk to a specialist law firm for class actions – such as Parker & Associates - to see if your claim is feasible. Our class action experts are available to provide information and advice that helps you to decide whether to go ahead with a class action suit or to pursue another avenue for resolution.

Class action settlements take time

There’s a lot of work involved with bringing a class action to court, including research, analysis and the time-consuming task of finding members for the plaintiff group or securing funder support. Because our firm has a strong track record with class actions, we know how to bring a class action to fruition cost-effectively and within a reasonable time frame.

Our law service for class actions extends to product liability claims, public-sector claims, financial services claims, employment claims, construction claims, insolvency-related claims, securities claims, privacy and cross-border and multi-jurisdictional claims.

Famous New Zealand class actions

  • In 2016, the High Court gave permission for a leaky building class action to proceed against cladding manufacturer James Hardie. The action claims James Hardie was negligent and breached the Fair Trading Act in its design, manufacture and supply of the Harditex cladding system. The first Harditex claim was brought by Tracey Cridge and Mark Unwin, who claim their Wellington home suffered widespread internal water damage - estimated at the time to cost more than $300,000 to fix. Subsequently, a group of more than 160 homeowners opted to join the claim, which is currently proceeding towards a hearing in August 2020. Parker & Associates acts for the plaintiffs.
  • Kiwifruit growers brought a class action against the government and Ministry for Primary Industries over the importation of the PSA-V disease to New Zealand, and they won.
  • Consumers filed a class action against ANZ for bank fees, which was eventually settled.
  • In 2018, the High Court approved representative claims alleging government insurer Southern Response underpaid on some Christchurch earthquake settlements by giving claimants a detailed repair/rebuild analysis (DRA) for their home that missed several costs. The abridged DRA was used to reach settlement. In late 2019, a Court of Appeal ruling cleared the way for a new type of class action in NZ, called an ‘opt out’ action, for the case against Southern Response.